Alex Molden, a former NFL player who is now a motivational speaker, high school football coach and sports parent, says that parents need to be more patient.
Too often, they’re too focused on pushing their kids to the top as quickly as possible.
“Kids have to find their path,” Molden told us in a recent Ultimate Sports Parent Radio interview.. “Parents are in so much of a rush for success.”
Impatient parents insist on too much too early. For example, they sign kids up for baseball and softball and hire pitching coaches. Or they want kids to specialize.
When young athletes are pushed too hard into succeeding or into specializing, they often burn out, says Molden.
When they specialize too early, they end up being too restricted in both their movements and their social interactions, he says. They move their bodies in the same way every day because they’re in a single sport.
They see the same kids and coaches every day. Instead, young athletes, before high school, should experience a number of sports–and the different coaches and players who are part of that experience.
Molden insists that his kids–he has eight kids!–play more than one sport until they’re juniors in high school. Playing multiple sports, he says, helps prevent kids from quitting.
“Kids should play different sports or focus on performance training to make themselves better athletes,” he suggests.
Just as important, it’s important to take breaks. “Even as a pro athlete, we had some time when we didn’t do anything,” he says.
Here at the Ultimate Sports Parent, we agree that parents shouldn’t push their kids; they need to be motivated from within. In addition, we suggest that parents help kids find some balance. And that means taking breaks.
Learn more about being patient with your athlete by listening to our interview with Molden.